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Exploring the surprising abundance of wine offerings coming out of Austria

The estate was also the first vineyard in the world to receive Demeter certification, in 1998. Demeter is the only ecological association in the world whose awards are recognized globally. It is based on bio-dynamic principles defined by Rudolf Steiner in 1924.

All 54 acres on the Nikolaihof estate are farmed using bio-dynamic principles, meaning they do not use chemicals, and fertilize the soil with natural herbs. They pick the grapes only on days appropriate to the bio-dynamic calendar.

The gruner veltliner is fermented in large old wooden barrels where the grapes do not receive any yeast. Rather, the wine is the result of the goodness of the fruit and the natural yeast on the bloom of the grapes.

The 2010 Nikolaihof Im Weingebirge gruner veltliner is a poised and controlled wine with aromas of rhubarb, lemon and white peach. It also has a smoky edge and hints of salty minerality. It would pair beautifully with smoked meats.

Grapes for the 2008 Nikolaihof Im Weingebirge gruner veltliner come from the oldest vineyard in central Europe, planted in the fifth century. The wine has marvelous focus with aromas of grapefruit and lentils. The bio-dynamic approach means the grapes have intense concentration of flavor.

This wine is a delight, with hints of herbs like thyme and rosemary wrapped inside zingy acid and a rich finish of spices and savory sweetness.

Stephen Quinn writes about wine for a variety of publications in the region. From 1975 he was a journalist for two decades with the Bangkok Post; BBC-TV, The Guardian, ITN, the UK Press Association; TVNZ; the Middle East Broadcasting Center in Dubai and a range of regional newspapers in Australia. Dr Quinn became a journalism educator in 1996, but returned to journalism full time in 2011. He is based in Hong Kong and is the author of 17 books.

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